Facing Magic

I needed a simple bodice for the dress I’m designing and used this cowl idea from Pattern Magic 2.  It’s from the Different Facings, Different Looks chapter in which Nakamichi demonstrates how with some simple dart manipulation, you create a garment front which is a different shape from its facing, though, crucially, the two are the same length at the point where they’re stitched together, i.e. the neckline.  The method can be used to achieve different looks – a V-shape or a square, for example.  I went for the simplest round facing.  This is how it looks in the book:

And here’s a tutorial for how to do it: 

1.  Start with a copy of the basic bodice block.  If yours has shoulder darts, move them away from the neck and shoulder lines.

 2. Draw the neckline for the facing.  Approximate measurements are given below; you can vary them slightly.  Carefully measure the length of the new line, e.g. xycm.  Close waist dart.

3. Trace this line and make a pattern for the facing from it.  Remember to add the fold line and seam allowances.  It should look something like this:

4. Draw a line from the bust point to the neckline which meets it at a right angle.

5. Cut at the neckline then cut along the new line.  Close the armhole dart, either part-way, or completely for a more dramatic look.  Now, place on a larger piece of paper and extend the centre front upwards.  Draw towards it from the shoulder side of the neckline.  It’s important that this line is the same length as the facing neckline, i.e xycm from step 2.

Now trace the bodice outline and complete the pattern by adding seam allowances, cutting instructions, a foldline and the grainline.  Unless your fabric is very drapey, cut the bodice front on the bias 

You can alter the back bodice by the same method for a lavishly cowled, open neckline: I kept the original basic bodice back.

I hereby declare this bodice my February contribution to Project Pattern Magic.  Have you checked out this challenge?  Lisa’s project for this month is a beautiful dress featuring the Bamboo Shoot.  If you’d like to join us, remember no 
project is too small (nor big!) and you have months to prepare.  Just blog about it on the last Wednesday of any month or, if you’re blogless, send me an email with your pics and I’ll host a post for you.

Check in next week for the details of the rest of my dress: I’m hoping it’ll fit me better than what’s-her-face Boleyn!

13 thoughts on “Facing Magic

  1. Lovely! These facings were on my list as well, I love it when you can add some magic to a normal design. Not to say your design is normal, I like what you did with the sleeves! Who or what are you designing it for?

    • It’s not difficult and worth keeping in mind when you need a PM Project at short notice. BTW, the dress is for me and almost finished.

  2. It makes for a beautiful neckline and your tutorial is very clear. I love the children’s Japanese Pattern Books, but would be a little terrified to try these patterns. Thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  3. Cool! Thank you for the very clear tutorial which I know i’ll use. As I get more comfortable with making pattern alterations I’m starting to want to do more than just fit stuff. I’ve bookmarked you. Again!!

    BTW the pink dress is lovely. Classic and elegant. Is it for you? Do we get pics of it on?

    • Thanks Emily! Yes, it’s definitely worth experimenting. Nowadays, when I go to a pattern and have to make so many adjustments, I realize it would have been quicker to draft my own.

      The dress will be finished soon: I’m trying to perfect the last bit which is the kick back pleat.

    • Hi Natasha
      Thanks very much. These books aren’t cheap (we should start hassling the libraries to stock them, with sewing on the rise an’ all?!) but they’re beautifully produced and a great idea for self-gifting, if you need an excuse!

      Love your blog, btw.

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